Debunking MormonThink’s “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a response to Thomas E. Donofrio’s article on MormonThink’s titled “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon.” Click here to read Part 1. Donofrio argues that works from prominent American authors, such as David Ramsay’s “The History of the American Revolution,” were used as source material for the Book of Mormon. He attempts to prove this by listing a large number of parallels between these works, and suggest that their presence provides strong evidence that the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction based on sources available in Joseph Smith’s day.

Similar to Part 1, I have provided examples of these parallels found in other English translations of ancient documents originally written by Flavius Josephus, Thucydides, Herodotus, Plato, and Aristotle. Any parallels that are not convincingly found in my sources are highlighted in red. Since this is not an exhaustive review of the literature, I cannot account for every single parallel offered by Donofrio, but as I find more relevant sources I have no doubt each parallel will eventually be accounted for. The purpose of this exercise is to show that the parallels found in these American literary sources are not unique and do not provide compelling evidence for their being used as inspiration for writing the Book of Mormon.

The MormonThink article lists the following parallels between a letter written by George Washington (1776) cited in Ramsay’s “History” and the Book of Mormon.

  • Friends and Brethren / My friends and my brethren (Mosiah 4:4)
    • Friends and brothers in arms, we are free to confess that we did lately a thing which was not right” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “So he got an assembly of his friends and kindred together” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 29:2)
    • “and do not sacrifice friends and kindred to their bitterest enemies” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “All this has been said with a view to counselling the friends and family of Dion” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Seventh Letter)
  • that Being / that Being (Mormon 5.2)
    • “God contains all things, and is a Being every way perfect and happy” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 23)
    • “demonstrate this, I say, by the punishment of Abiram and Dathan, who condemn thee as an insensible Being” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 3:2)
  • the Justice of their Cause / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
    • “I am confident in the justice of my cause” (The Dialogues of Plato, Apology)
  • the Blessings of Liberty / the blessings of liberty (Alma 46:13)
    • “Thus the nations over that whole extent of country obtained the blessing of self-government, but they fell again under the sway of kings” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Of the two things that God determined to bestow upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “Since, therefore, you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:3)
  • Slavery / bondage and slavery (Alma 48:11)
    • “when they were set free from the Babylonian slavery” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:1)
    • “in memory of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 7:2)
  • Circle of Nobility / blood of nobility (Alma 51:21)
    • “thirsting, out of his own natural barbarity, after noble blood” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 11:4)
    • “the nobility of their birth made them unable to contain their indignation” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 23:2)
  • Come then, my brethren, unite with us / unite with us (3 Nephi 3:7)
    • “and to come and unite with them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 2:12)
    • “instead of being always on the defensive against the Syracusans, unite with us, and in your turn at last threaten them” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • We have taken up Arms in defence of our Liberty, our Property; our Wives and our Children / they have taken up arms to defend themselves, and their wives, and their children, and their lands (Alma 35:13) / their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children (Alma 48:10) / a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children (Alma 58:12) / in the defense of your liberty (3 Nephi 3:2)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
    • “So they fought the Romans briskly when they least expected it, being both many in number, and prepared for fighting, and of great alacrity, as esteeming their country, their wives, and their children to be in danger, and easily put the Romans to flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 6:1)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and when we received such sore treatment from one another” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:6)
    • “And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages which are bound up with the defence of your country” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • We are determined to preserve them or die / they were determined to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17)
    • we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall have their horse upon us in great numbers” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own side” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:6)
  • a Free Government / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • The cause of America and of liberty / the cause of our liberty (Alma 58:12)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • his Religion / his religion (Alma 48:13)
    • “how will you call upon God to assist you, when you are voluntarily transgressing against his religion?” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • the Standard of general Liberty / standard of liberty (Alma 46:36)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)

 

After providing the previous list, Donofrio states:

“How can these similarities be explained? Is it possible that the author of the Book of Mormon had a copy of the letter and used it as a resource? Or, is this just “the language of the day,” as the defenders of Joseph would say. Perhaps it is more reasonable to assume that the letter or the themes contained therein were available in full or in part in other more accessible works. The concepts put forth by Washington may be considered universal. Many of them were used by the other Founding Fathers. Since the parallels cannot be denied, the information must have been available to the author of the Book of Mormon in some form.”

The problem with the authors’ conclusion is that these parallels which are supposedly unique to Washington’s letter are found in documents written nearly two thousand years earlier and translated into English reflecting the “language of the day.”

 

Donofrio then identifies parallels in a letter written by Washington in 1754 and published in the Maryland Gazette. Again, I have listed the parallels they identified followed by their ancient correlates:

  • the following account of my proceedings / make an account of my proceedings (1 Nephi 1:17)
    • “As for the Egyptians’ claim to be of our kindred, they do it on one of the following accounts” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 3)
    • “had written an account of this assembly to Caesar” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 32:5)
    • “He also gives us an account of that ark wherein Noah, the origin of our race, was preserved” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book I, 19)
    • “So God was angry at these proceedings” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book X, 3:1)
    • “in the course of his reign, he performed other actions very worthy of note, of which I will now proceed to give an account” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • The following is an account of these governments, and of the yearly tribute which they paid to the king” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • the numberless Imperfections of it / the imperfections which are in it (Mormon 8:12)
    • My conclusions have cost me some labor from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eye-witnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • the Bastions are made of Piles driven into the Ground, and about 12 feet above, and sharp at Top / upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets (Alma 50:3)
    • “However, the Sicarri made haste, and presently built another wallIt was framed after the following manner: They laid together great beams of wood lengthways, one close to the end of another, and the same way in which they were cut: there were two of these rows parallel to one another, and laid at such a distance from each other as the breadth of the wall required, and earth was put into the space between those rows. Now, that the earth might not fall away upon the elevation of this bank to a greater height, they further laid other beams over cross them” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:5)
    • “began to fortify Delium, the sanctuary of Apollo, in the following manner. A trench was dug all round the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted, the vines round the sanctuary being cut down and thrown in, together with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near; every means, in short, being used to run up the rampart. Wooden towers were also erected where they were wanted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “where they made places for their ships to lie in, erected a palisade round their camp, and retired into winter quarters” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “First he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees which they cut down…next they threw up a mound against the city” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
  • every Stratagem / by stratagem (Alma 43:30)
    • “he had routed those four commanders by stratagems” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
    • “He therefore prepared to assail them by stratagem” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “Darius now, still keeping to the plan agreed upon, attacked the walls on every side, whereupon Zopyrus played out the remainder of his stratagem” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • a Neck of Land / neck of land (Alma 22:32)
    • “attempted to cut through this narrow neck of land” (Herodotus, Book 1)

 

Donofrio goes on to list more parallels found in Ramsay’s “The History of the American Revolution”:

  • standard of general liberty (p. 219) / standard of liberty (p. 646) / standard of liberty (Alma 62:4)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian mercenaries and all the Edonians” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • planted the standard of loyalty (p. 442) / planted the standard of liberty (Alma 46:36)
    • Raise the standard of revolt in Persia, and then march straight on Media” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “An antique iron sword is planted on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • flock to their standard (p. 274) / flock unto his standard (Alma 62:5)
    • The multitude also flocked about him greatly, and made mighty acclamations to him” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 12:1)
    • calling to his standard fifteen hundred Thracian mercenaries and all the Edonians” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly” (Bible, Isaiah 5:26)
  • the blessings of liberty (p. 85) / the blessings of liberty (Alma 46:13)
    • “Thus the nations over that whole extent of country obtained the blessing of self-government, but they fell again under the sway of kings” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Of the two things that God determined to bestow upon us, liberty, and the possession of a Happy Country” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “Since, therefore, you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:3)
  • liberties, property, wives and children (p. 277) / Their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children (Alma 48:10)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
    • “They added this also, that when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their children, and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them upon them, they would go along with the rest of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 7:3)
    • “the Syracusans to fight for their country, and each individual for his safety that day and liberty hereafter” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • a free government (p. 162) / a free government (Alma 46:35)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)
  • the cause of liberty (p. 90) / the cause of liberty (Alma 51:17)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • the cause of American liberty (p. 512) / the cause of our liberty (Alma 58:12)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
  • in the cause of their country (p. 460) / in the cause of their country (Alma 56:11)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • the justice of the cause (p. 267) / the justice of their cause (p.181) / the justice of our cause (p. 178) / their cause to be just (p. 185) / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29) / a just cause (Alma 55:1)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
    • “putting his trust in God, because he was going to war in a just cause” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 6:2)
    • “I am confident in the justice of my cause” (The Dialogues of Plato, Apology)
  • died in the cause of liberty (p. 178) / died in the cause of their country (Alma 56:11)
    • “courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “For not only did he thus distinguish himself beyond others in the cause of his country’s freedom” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • in defence of their liberties (p. 634) / in the defence of your liberty (3 Nephi 3:2)
    • “when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and when we received such sore treatment from one another” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:6)
  • spirit of freedom (p. 156) / spirit of freedom (Alma 60:25)
    • “Such was the natural nobility of this city, so sound and healthy was the spirit of freedom among us” (The Dialogues of Plato, Menexenus)
    • “trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
  • rights and privileges (p. 401) / rights and privileges (Mosiah 29:32)
    • “made this speech concerning the rights and privileges of Hyrcanus” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 10:7)
  • to maintain their rights and privileges (p. 232) / to maintain their rights and the privileges (Alma 51:6)
    • their rights and privileges have been preserved by those presidents who have at divers times been sent thither” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
    • “and every body caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:2)
  • their rights and liberties (p. 232) / their rights and their liberties (Alma 43:26)
    • “their rights and privileges have been preserved by those presidents who have at divers times been sent thither” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 5:2)
    • “these overthrowers of our liberties deserve to be destroyed” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 3:10)
  • safety and welfare (p. 398) / welfare and safety (Alma 48:12)
    • “he determined rather to trust the safety and care of the child to God” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 9:4)
    • “and this was the method by which these men found safety and security under the calamity that was ready to overtake them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 1:16)
    • “you are to guard the bridge with all care, and watch over its safety and preservation” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • determined on death or victory (p. 378) / determined to conquer in this place or die (Alma 56:17)
    • we must conquer or hardly get away, as we shall have their horse upon us in great numbers” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • “also of encouraging them to undergo dangers, and to die for their countries” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:4)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
    • “it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own side” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 1:6)
  • their Creator (p. 15) / their Creator (Omni 1:7)
    • “an instance of impiety against God our Creator” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 8:5)
    • “bring upon us impiety towards our Creator” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 8:5)
  • critical time (p. 512) / critical time (Alma 51:9)
    • “His arrival chanced at a critical moment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “as he thought that they were in a critical position” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • critical circumstances (p. 448) / critical circumstances (Alma 57:16)
    • “His arrival chanced at a critical moment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
    • “as he thought that they were in a critical position” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • marching through the wilderness (p. 220) / marching round about in the wilderness (Alma 43:24)
    • “he caused the army to remove and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 4:7)
  • began their march (p. 341) / began their march (3 Nephi 4:25)
    • “and Archidamus learnt that the Athenians had still not thoughts of submitting, he at length began his march” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “the crews ran them ashore, and abandoning them began their march along the continent” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • had begun his march (p. 573) / had begun his march (Alma 52:15)
    • “and Archidamus learnt that the Athenians had still not thoughts of submitting, he at length began his march” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “the crews ran them ashore, and abandoning them began their march along the continent” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • marched over (p. 381) / marched over (Alma 43:25)
    • “Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:1)
    • “he left their ships high and dry and joined most of the island to the mainland, and then marched over on foot and captured it” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter IV)
  • places of security (p. 345) / places of security (Alma 50:4)
    • “and that it was, on other accounts, a place of great security to them” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:3)
    • “to snatch up in haste and get across the river into a place of security” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • place of retreat (p. 368) / places of retreat (Alma 49:11)
    • “was itself compassed with a very strong wall, insomuch that if the city were taken, that temple would be a second place of refuge for the enemy to retire to” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 7:1)
    • “They must make Megara their naval station as a place to retreat to and a base from which to attack” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • little army (p. 425) / little army (Alma 56:19)
    • “But then (says Apion) Onias brought a small army afterward upon the city” (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 5)
    • “Herod made all excursion upon them with a small body of his men” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 15:3)
    • “did not bear the onset of a small body of the Roman army” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • little band (p. 486) / little band (Alma 57:6)
    • “though but a small band against a numerous host, they engaged in battle” (Herodotus, Book 1, 176)
    • “Herod made all excursion upon them with a small body of his men” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 15:3)
  • fought and bled (p. 541) / fought and bled (Alma 60:9)
    • “these men, in the assertion of their resolve not to lose her, nobly fought and died” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “and fought and conquered them” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • scene of bloodshed (p. 522) / scene of bloodshed (Alma 28:10)
    • “and introduced the most complete scene of iniquity in all instances that were practicable” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:1)
    • “they went on in the slaughter of persons of every age, till all the place was overflowed with blood, and fifty thousand of them lay dead upon heaps” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 18:8)
    • “he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of bloodshed” (Josephus, Antiquities, book XVIII, 8:3)
  • among their slain (p. 380) / among the number who were slain (Helaman 1:30)
    • Among the slain was also Procles, the colleague of Demosthenes” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter XI)
    • “Search was made among the slain by order of the queen” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • in great numbers (p. 376) / in great numbers (Alma 57:14)
    • “But now the Jews got together in great numbers with their wives and children into that plain” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 10:3)
  • a vast number (p. 260) / a vast number (Alma 56:10)
    • “he also pressed hard upon the hindermost, and slew a vast number of them” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 17:6)
    • “she destroyed a vast number of Egyptians” (Herodotus, Book II)
  • ways and means (p. 396) / ways and means (Mosiah 4:29)
    • “for different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means” (Aristotle, Politics, Part VIII)
    • “let us now turn to the question of possibility and ways and means” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book V)
  • precious metals (p. 185) / precious metals (Helaman 6:9)
    • “copper, silver, and other precious metal” (The Dialogues of Plato, Stateman)
    • “their precious vessels of silver and of gold” (Bible, Daniel 11:8)
    • “I will make a man more precious than fine gold” (Bible, Isaiah 13:12)
    • “Among the Ethiopians copper is of all metals the most scarce and valuable” (Herodotus, Book III)
    • “and that this was of old esteemed the most precious of all metals” (Dr. Hudson, Josephus Commentary, Josephus, Antiquities, Book XI, 5:2, footnote 8)
  • did not molest them (p. 416) / did not molest them (Mosiah 19:29)
    • “they are strong, and that if we do not molest them it is because we are afraid” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVII)
  • took possession of (p. 429) / took possession of (Mosiah 23:29)
    • “cut down by those Jews who took possession of the place afterward” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 6:3)
    • “The Persians, on their return, took possession of an empty town” (Herodotus, Book 1, 164)
    • “The Athenians also took possession of the towns” (Thucydides, Chapter IX)
  • take command (p. 412) / took command (Alma 53:2)
    • “a steady friend to the Potidaeans, took command of the expedition” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter II))
  • take up arms (p. 370) / take up arms (Alma 2:10)
    • “it was this Florus who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XX, 11:1)
    • “but I do bid you not to take up arms at once” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
  • obliged to flee (p. 450) / obliged to flee (Alma 59:8)
    • “but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in his attempt” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:6)
    • “and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save themselves by flight” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 16:4)
  • were obliged to (p. 366) / were obliged to (Alma 59:8)
    • “they were obliged to expose themselves to danger by their very despair of victory” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 19:5)
    • “some of those who were obliged to leap down from the cliffs without their shields” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXII)
  • The stratagem (p. 372) / by stratagem (Alma 52:10)
    • “he had routed those four commanders by stratagems” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 21:7)
    • “He therefore prepared to assail them by stratagem” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
    • “Darius now, still keeping to the plan agreed upon, attacked the walls on every side, whereupon Zopyrus played out the remainder of his stratagem” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • preparations for (p. 377) / preparations for (Jarom 1:8)
    • “While he was still engaged in making preparations for his attack” (Herodotus, Book 1)
    • “Syracuse pursued her preparations for war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • preparations were made (p. 445) / made preparations (Alma 24:20)
    • “and were not disposed for the preservation of those by whom these preparations were made” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 8:7)
    • “When, however, it became known that he had left Marathon, and was marching upon the city, preparations were made for resistance” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • upwards of (p. 338) / upwards of (Alma 57:14))
    • “the Thessalians convoying them, as far as to Strymon, yet if they had not gotten that bridge, the river being upwards nothing but a vast fen” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book IV, 108)
  • Moravian towns (p. 475) / Morianton (Alma 50:25)
    • Moriah (Bible, 2 Chronicles 3:1/Genesis 22:2)
    • “a place called formerly the Citadel, though afterwards its name was changed to Antonia” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:3)
    • Eshton (Bible, 1 Chronicles 4:11)
  • The town was also picquetted in with strong picquets, and surrounded with a ditch, and a bank, near the height of a common parapet (p. 568) / formed of earth with a parapet and ditch (p. 276) / formed of piquets (p. 364) / a picket of 150 men (p. 435) / a frame of pickets built upon the timbers (Alma 50:3) / works of pickets (Alma 50:4) / bank of the ditch (Alma 53:4)
    • A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall, in which stakes were also planted…together with stones and bricks pulled down from the houses near” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • erection of works (p. 351) / works of timbers built up to the height of a man (Alma 50:2)
    • “where they made places for their ships to lie in, erected a palisade round their camp, and retired into winter quarters” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
    • Wooden towers were also erected where they were wanted” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
    • “First he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees which they cut down…next they threw up a mound against the city” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
    • “But the Plataeans, observing the progress of the mound, constructed a wall of wood and fixed it upon that part of the city wall against which the mound was being erected” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VIII)
  • a work was thrown up (478) / the bank which had been thrown up (Alma 49:18)
    • “A trench was dug all around the temple and the consecrated ground, and the earth thrown up from the excavation was made to do duty as a wall” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIV)
  • leveled with the dust (p. 515) / level them with the earth (Alma 51:17)
    • “he resolved to burn Athens, and to cast down and level with the ground whatever remained standing of the walls, temples, and other buildings” (Herodotus, Book IX)
  • driving the Americans before them (p. 289) / driving the Nephites before them (Alma 51:28)
    • “he returned back to the remainders of Idumea, and driving the nation all before him from all quarters” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 9:10)
  • and drove him (p. 441) / and drove him (Ether 13:29)
    • “But the seditious threw stones at him, and drove him away” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 1:3)
  • alternately drove, and were driven by each other (p. 378) / they were driven back, or they drove them back (Mosiah 11:18)
    • “but, upon the sight of the people of Ai, with them they were driven back, and lost thirty-six of their men” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 1:12)
    • “he made an irruption into Galilee, and met his enemies, and drove them back to the place which they had left” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 17:3)
  • Pressed on their rear (p. 175) / pressed upon their rear (Alma 52:36)
    • “which made them disperse themselves, and run to the city, as fast as every one of them were able. So Titus pressed upon the hindmost, and slew them” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 10:3)
    • “he put the enemy to flight, and pursued them, and pressed upon them, and slew them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 14:4)
    • “he also parted his army into three bodies, and fell upon the backs of their enemies” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 8:3)
    • “if the enemy advanced into the plain against the troops of Agis, they might fall upon his rear with their cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • attacked in the rear as well as in the front (p. 426) / both in their front and in their rear (3 Nephi 4:25) / bring them up in the rear at the same time they were met in the front (Alma 56:23)
    • “when I had laid an ambush in a certain valley, not far from the banks, I provoked those that belonged to the king to come to a battle, and gave orders to my own soldiers to turn their backs upon them, until they should have drawn the enemy away from their camp, and brought them out into the field, which was done accordingly; for Sylla, supposing that our army did really run away, was ready to pursue them, when our soliders lay in ambush took them on their backs, and put them all into great disorder. I also immediately made a sudden turn with my own forces, and met those of the king’s party, and put them to flight” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 72)
  • to the left (p. 379) / to the left (Alma 56:37)
    • “he next advanced into the rest of Macedonia to the left of Pella and Cyrrhus” (Thucydides)
    • “he throws it to the left, and bears it on his shoulder” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 7:2)
    • “Now Mithridates had the right wing, and Antipater the left; and when it came to a fight, that wing where Mithridates was gave way” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 8:2)
  • on the right (p. 380) / on the right (Alma 58:17)
    • “That of their opponents was as followed: On the right were the Mantineans, the action taking place in their country” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “They also avoid spitting in the midst of them, or on the right side” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:9)
  • His army was posted…on both sides of the North river (p. 435) / the armies of Moroni…on both sides of the river (Alma 43:52)
    • “Accordingly, Saul made an irruption into the country of the Amalekites, and set men in several parties in ambush at the river, that so he might not only do them a mischief by open fighting, but might fall upon them unexpectedly in the ways, and might thereby compass them round about, and kill them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 7:2)
  • river Delaware (p. 343) / river Sidon (Alma 2:15)
    • “by birth a Jew, but brought up at Sidon with one of the Roman freed-men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:1)
  • by a secret way (p. 217) / by a secret way (Helaman 2:11)
    • “he had a secret passage under ground leading from the citadel to the sea” (Herodotus, Book 3, 146)
  • a profound silence (p. 187) / a profound silence (Alma 55:17)
    • A deep silence also, and a kind of deadly night, had seized upon the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:3)
    • “but a terrible solitude on every side, with a fire within the place, as well as a perfect silence” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 9:2)
    • “When this thought smote him he fetched a long breath, and breaking his deep silence, groaned out aloud” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • hemmed in (p. 383) / hemmed in (Alma 22:33)
    • “the enemy being hemmed in on every side by infantry and cavalry” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • withdraw themselves (p. 399) / withdraw themselves (3 Nephi 4:23)
    • “yet they did not withdraw themselves out of the dangers they were in” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 11:5)
  • direct course (p. 412) / direct course (Alma 37:24)
    • “we came with a straight course unto Coos” (Bible, Acts 21:1)
    • “the doors whereof, being open, they thought had been the gates of the city, and that there had been a direct way through the other side” (Thucydides, Hobbes Translation, Book II, 4)
  • armies which were coming against them (p. 273) / his army coming against them (Alma 52:28)
    • “The Athenians seeing them all coming against them” (Thucydides, Book IV, Chapter XIII)
    • “understanding that the Persian armament was coming against them” (Herodotus, Book 6, 100)
  • commenced his attack (p. 345) / battle had commenced (Alma 56:49)
    • “a war was commenced presently” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 3:3)
    • “while he that sent me, and not I, will commence a war against you” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 10:4)
  • the commencement of (p. 379) / the commencement of (1 Nephi 1:4)
    • “for the end that was now put to their civil miseries, and for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:6)
  • accomplishing the designs (p. 260) / accomplish his designs (Alma 47:16)
    • “for he either corrupted Alexander’s acquaintance with money, or got into their favor by flatteries; by which two means he gained all his designs, and brought them to betray their master” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 24:1)
    • “all these designs of yours cannot be accomplished by you without my help” (The Dialogues of Plato, First Alcibiades)
  • The active zeal of the industrious provincials completed lines of defence by the morning, which astonished the garrison (p. 245) / the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security (Alma 49:5)
    • these workmen went on with their works in safety, and raised the wall higher, and that both by day and by night, till it was twenty cubits high. He also built a good number of towers upon the wall, and fitted it to strong battlements. This greatly discouraged the Romans, who in their own opinions were already gotten within the walls, while they were now at once astonished at Josephus’s contrivance, and at the fortitude of the citizens that were in the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 7:10)
  • disappointments (p. 379) / disappointment (Alma 49:4)
    • “they had feared the reinforcement brought by Demosthenes, and deep, in consequence, was the despondency of the Athenians, and great their disappointment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • disappointed (p. 414) / disappointed (Alma 56:23)
    • “but when they went out to fight, they were always disappointed” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 9:4)
  • embarrassments (p. 376) / embarrassments (Alma 58:9)
    • “These causes, the great losses from Decelea, and the other heavy charges that fell upon them, produced their financial embarrassment” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)

 

Donofrio provides the following parallel in Ramsay’s “Life of George Washington”:

  • The Americans moved from their encampment on the Skippack road in the evening of the 3rd of October, with the intention of surprising their adversaries early next morning, and to attack both wings in front and rear at the same time / And this they did do in the night-time, and got on their march beyond the robbers, so that on the morrow, when the robbers began their march, they were met by the armies of the Nephites both in their front and in their rear (3 Nephi 4:25)
    • “when I had laid an ambush in a certain valley, not far from the banks, I provoked those that belonged to the king to come to a battle, and gave orders to my own soldiers to turn their backs upon them, until they should have drawn the enemy away from their camp, and brought them out into the field, which was done accordingly; for Sylla, supposing that our army did really run away, was ready to pursue them, when our soliders lay in ambush took them on their backs, and put them all into great disorder. I also immediately made a sudden turn with my own forces, and met those of the king’s party, and put them to flight” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 72)

 

Donofrio continues with Ramsay’s “History”:

  • the Americans severely felt the scarcity of provisions. Their murmurs became audible (p. 488) / were this all we had suffered we would not murmur (Alma 60:4)
    • “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness…for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Bible, Exodus 16:2)
  • a vigorous determined opposition was the only alternative for the preservation of their property, their children and their wives (p. 371) / and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children (Alma 58:12)
    • “They added this also, that when they had built cities, wherein they might preserve their children, and wives, and possessions, if he would bestow them upon them, they would go along with the rest of the army” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 7:3)
    • “Be ye not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Bible, Nehemiah 4:14)
  • fixed in his resolution (p. 379) / a determined resolution (p. 229) / fixed in his determination (p. 397) / fixed in their minds with a determined resolution (Alma 47:6)
  • with firmness (p. 378) / with such firmness (Mormon 2:25)
    • “partly on account of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 8:4)
  • threatening them with destruction (p. 257) / threatened them with destruction (1 Nephi 18:20)
    • “unwilling to bring the threatened destruction on themselves by giving up the man” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “and threatened their city every day with open destruction” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 1:2)
    • “for he died not long after he had written to Petronius that epistle which threatened him with death” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, 8:9)
  • on his right hand was justice (p. 664) / the sword of his justice in his right hand (3 Nephi 29:4)
    • “We will lend thee our right hand and a sword…As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their swords at him” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 8:4)
    • “so that every one of them had his right hand upon his sword, in order to defend himself” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:7)
    • “O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? Put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still” (Bible, Jeremiah 47:6)
  • His soul was harrowed up (p. 288) / his soul began to be harrowed up (Alma 14:6)
    • “And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes” (Bible, 1 Chronicles 20:3)
  • gain their point (p. 618) / gain the point (Alma 46:29)
    • “which he might prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think it a great point gained” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 2:3)
  • an ignominious death (p. 295) / an ignominious death (Alma 1:15)
    • “he died ignominiously by the dangerous manner of his assault” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VII, 7:2)
  • distinction of ranks (p. 30) / distinguished by ranks (3 Nephi 6:12)
    • “Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and in their several ranks, under their several commanders” (Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:4)
  • one heart and one mind (p. 110) / in one mind and in one heart (2 Nephi 1:21)
    • “but, above all things, let us be of one mind, and let us honor God” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Bible, Acts 4:32)
  • the minds of the people (p. 450) / the minds of the people (Alma 17:6)
    • “he could no other way bend the minds of the Jews so as to receive Herod” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 1:2)
    • “for nothing does so much cement the minds of men together” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:3)
    • “Nor indeed were the minds of the Idumeans at rest” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 4:5)
  • warm tempers (p. 179) / warm dispute (Alma 51:4)
    • “Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 12:1)
    • “and being a young man, of a warm temper” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 7:8)
  • much confusion (p. 190) / much confusion (Alma 52:28)
    • “the multitude were in great confusion” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 7:22)
  • an equal chance (p. 533) / an equal chance (Alma 49:22)
    • (when referring to “an equal chance,” Mormon is referring to “equal terms” for battle)
    • “the knowledge which can give a specious criticism of an enemy’s plans in theory, but fails to assail them with equal success in practice” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “It was thought that their attack would be met by men full of courage and on equal terms with their assailants” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were afraid to fight him openly in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambushes in the passes” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 9:8)
  • stand or fall (p. 354) / stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Bible, Romans 14:4)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • learn wisdom (p. 665) / learn wisdom (Alma 38:9)
    • “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy” (Proverbs 30:3)
  • present and future generations (p. 667) / future day (p. 399) / future day (Enos 1:13) / unto us as well as unto future generations (Alma 24:14)
    • “to be a witness to future generations of what he had foretold” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:6)
    • “to leave behind thee to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius and Aristogeiton” (Herodotus, Book VI)
    • “lest thou bring destruction on thine own head at some future time” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “in order that if at any future time peace should be made with Athens” (Thucydides, Chapter X)
    • “But in future ages the people added new banks” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 5:1)
  • the art of war (p. 443) / the arts of war (Ether 13:16)
    • “by the Romans’ skill in the art of war” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 18:2)
    • “novices in the art of war” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XX)
  • lust of power and gain (p. 324) / to get power and gain (Ether 8:22)
    • “wholly carried away with the lust of power” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:4)
    • “For the love of gain would reconcile the weaker to the dominion of the stronger” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
    • “the vision foretold that he should obtain power and great wealth” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 2:2)
  • to usurp the executive power (p. 231) / to usurp power (Alma 60:27)
    • “he did an injury to Caesar, by usurping that authority before it was determined for him by Caesar” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 9:5)
    • “the orators lead the people, but their ignorance of military matters prevents them from usurping power” (Aristotle, Politics, Part V)
  • the powers of the earth (p. 416) / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • lull them into a fatal security (p. 403) / lull them away into carnal security (2 Nephi 28:21)
    • “For let us never be elated by the fatal hope of the war being quickly ended by the devastation of their lands” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “the gates also being left open through their feeling of security” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXI)
  • a state of nature (p. 123) / a state of nature (Alma 41:11)
    • “The legislator was under the idea that war was the natural state of all makind, and that peace is only a pretence (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: The Preamble, Book I)
    • “having his hand recovered to its natural state” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VIII, 8:5)
    • “But as for his being ensnared by a woman, that is to be ascribed to human nature, which is took weak to resist the temptations to that sin” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book V, 8:12)
    • “In the confusion into which life was now thrown in the cities, human nature, always rebelling against the law and now its master, gladly showed itself ungoverned in passion, above respect for justice, and the enemy of all superiority” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • humble servant (p. 408) / humble servant (Alma 8:19)
    • “Again, if the woman is not rich, her husband will not be her humble servant” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book VIII)
  • compel the inhabitants to take arms (p. 213) / compel them to arms (Alma 47:3)
    • “they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6)
    • “by which means they were compelled to come out to fight” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 19:5)
    • “the Rhodians, Argives by race, were compelled to bear arms against the Dorian Syracusans and their own colonists” (Thucydides, Book VII, Chapter XXIII)
  • their American brethren…taking up arms against them (p. 485) / commanded them that they should take up arms against their brethren (Alma 2:10)
    • “who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XX, 11:1)
    • “they forced the Jews that were among them to bear arms against their own countrymen, which it is unlawful for us to do” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6)
    • “The Jews might collect this unlawfulness of fighting against their brethren from that law of Moses” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 6, Commentary, Footnote 7)
    • “they fought against their own countrymen” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 18:3)
    • “fought against their own kindred” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 10:10)
  • by these names (p. 656) / by these names (Jacob 1:14)
    • “And great, in truth, and little, and light, and heavy—will they at all more truly be called by these names which we may give them, than by the opposite names?” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book V)
  • called themselves loyalists (p. 441) / called themselves Zoramites (Alma 30:59)
    • “whom the Greeks living near the Hypanis call Borysthenites, while they call themselves Oliopolites” (Herodotus, Book IV)
    • “there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarri” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 13:3)
    • “They were called Amalekites” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 2:1)
  • put to death these harmless, inoffensive people, though they made no resistance (p. 475) / they suffered themselves to be slain (Alma 27:3)
    • “But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king’s commandment, to profane the sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle with all speed. Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid; but said, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and slew them, with their wives and children, and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people” (Apocrypha, I Maccabees 2:34-38)
    • “as soon as, according to the articles of capitulation, they had all laid down their shields and their swords, and were under no further suspicion of any harm, but were going away, Eleazar’s men attacked them after a violent manner, and encompassed them round, and slew them, while they neither defended themselves, nor entreated for mercy, but only cried out upon the breach of their articles of capitulation and their oaths” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 17:10)
  • a silent adieu (p. 644) / Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:24)
    • “with such portion of their goods and chattels as the vessels could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to Rhegium” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Thus have I set down the geneology of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me” (Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)
  • From these events…I return to relate (p. 440) / And now I return to an account (Alma 43:3)
    • “since this is not a proper time for domestical lamentations, but for historical narrations; I therefore return to the operations that follow this sedition” (Josephus, Wars, Book V, 1:3)
    • I return now from this digression” (Josephus, Wars, Book III, 5:8)
    • Having described this, I return to the subject on which I originally proposed to discourse” (Herodotus, Book IV)
  • I proceed to relate real events (p. 586) / I proceed with my record (Ether 2:3)
    • As I proceed, therefore, I shall accurately describe what is contained in our records” (Josephus, Antiquities, Preface, 3)
  • shall be hereafter related (p. 587) / shall be spoken hereafter (Helaman 2:12)
    • “which we shall speak more in its proper place hereafter” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 1:1)
    • “whose structure, largeness, and magnificence we shall describe hereafter” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 21:9)
  • Thus ended the (p. 450) / Thus ended the (Mosiah 29:47)
    • “And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem” (Josephus, Wars, Book VI, 10:1)
    • “And thus ended the affairs of the plundering of Ziklag” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 14:6)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels in Ramsay’s citation of the Declaration of Independence in his “History”:

  • friends and brethren / my friends and my brethren (Mosiah 4:4)
    • Friends and brothers in arms, we are free to confess that we did lately a thing which was not right” (Herodotus, Book V)
    • “So he got an assembly of his friends and kindred together” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 29:2)
    • “Where comes this solitude, and desertion of thy friends and relations?” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVI, 11:5)
    • “and do not sacrifice friends and kindred to their bitterest enemies” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter III)
    • “All this has been said with a view to counselling the friends and family of Dion” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Seventh Letter)
  • a free people / a free people (Alma 21:21)
    • “he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 3:3)
    • “shake off the yoke of servitude, and to become a free people” (Herodotus, Book I)
  • the powers of the earth / the powers of the earth (3 Nephi 28:39)
    • “These ascribe all to fate [or providence], and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is principally in the power of men” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 8:14)
    • “where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XV, 5:1)
  • the works of death / the work of death (Alma 43:37)
    • “at length undertook the work of bringing Alexander and Aristobulus to their graves” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 26:2)
    • “they did themselves the works of war and tyranny, after an insolent manner” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 5:5)
  • insurrections amongst us / insurrections among you (Alma 60:27)
    • “for the Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would have raised an insurrection together with them” (Josephus, Wars, Preface, 2)
    • “and you will free yourselves from the imputation made against you, of not supporting insurrection” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter IX)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels found in Ramsay’s reprint of George Washington’s farewell address (September 19, 1796) in “The Life of George Washington.” The address was also published in newspapers, such as The Independent Chronicle (September 26, 1796, Boston, Massachusetts):

  • combinations or associations / combinations (Alma 37:31)
    • “it was this clause that was the real origin of the panic in Peloponnese, by exciting suspicions of a Lacedaemonian and Athenian combination against their liberties” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XV)
  • to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reigns of government / those who have desires to usurp power (Alma 60:27)
    • “he did an injury to Caesar, by usurping that authority before it was determined for him by Caesar” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, 9:5)
    • “the orators lead the people, but their ignorance of military matters prevents them from usurping power” (Aristotle, Politics, Part V)
  • love of power and proneness to abuse / it had it not been for the desire of power (Alma 60:16)
    • “wholly carried away with the lust of power” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:4)
  • which binds a dutiful citizen to his country / which binds us to our lands (Alma 44:5)
    • “To bind themselves yet more closely together, it seemed good to them to leave a common monument” (Herodotus, Book II)
    • “ ‘I, too,’ adds Cleinias, ‘have a tie which binds me to you’” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book I)
  • as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest / And I soon go to the place of my rest…in the mansions of my Father (Enos 1:27)
    • “In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (Bible, John 14:2)
    • “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Bible, Matthew 11:28)
    • “the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Bible, Isaiah 34:14)
  • a free government / a free government (Alma 51:6)
    • “Lacedaemonians, propose to put down free governments in the cities of Greece, and to set up tyrannies in their room” (Herodotus, Book V)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels in Ramsay’s reproduction of Washington’s last written letter:

  • they will stand or fall / thus they stand or fall (Alma 41:7)
    • “to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Bible, Romans 14:4)
    • “you chose the Athenians, and with them you must stand or fall” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
  • the defense of his own person and property / the defense of his property and his own life (Ether 14:2)
    • “there shall be three prisons—one for common offences against life and property” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Law: Preamble, Book X)
  • I now bid adieu / Brethren, adieu (Jacob 7:27)
    • “with such portion of their goods and chattels as the vessels could bear, bade adieu to Cyrnus and sailed to Rhegium” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “Thus have I set down the geneology of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me” (Josephus, Life of Flavius Josephus, 1)

 

Donofrio also identifies parallels from writings of other Founding Framers, such as Samuel Adams delivering his “American Independence” speech to the State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776.

  • Priestcraft / priestcraft (Alma 1:12)
  • Providence / providence (Jacob 2:13)
    • “However, it came to pass, as it seems by the providence of God, when he intended to bring Antipater to punishment, that she fell not upon her head” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 30:5)
    • “Of a truth Divine Providence does appear to be, as indeed one might expect beforehand, a wise contriver” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • precious in his sight / precious in his sight (Jacob 2:21)
    • Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Bible, Psalm 116:15)
    • “O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight” (Bible, 2 Kings 1:13)
    • “with such stones of other sorts also as were most curious and best esteemed, as being most precious in their kind” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 2:9)
  • justice and mercy / justice and mercy (Mormon 6:22)
    • “But justice cannot always be strictly enforced, and then equity and mercy have to be substituted” (The Dialogues of Plato, Laws: Preamble, Book VI)
    • Mercy, remember, is by many set above justice” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • the justice of our cause / the justice of the cause (Alma 46:29)
    • “but Aristobulus’s three hundred talents had more weight with him than the justice of the cause” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 6:3)
  • the spirit of freedom / the spirit of freedom (Alma 61:15)
    • “Such was the natural nobility of this city, so sound and healthy was the spirit of freedom among us” (Plato, Dialogues, Menexenus)
    • “trusting less in system and policy than to the native spirit of our citizens” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
    • “Nay, indeed, Lysias observing the great spirit of the Jews, how they were prepared to die rather than lose their liberty” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 7:5)
  • look up to Heaven /look up to God (Alma 5:19)
    • “Thou art not ignorant, O Lord, that it is beyond human strength and human contrivance to avoid the difficulties we are now under…if there be any method that can promise us an escape by thy providence, we look up to thee for it” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book II, 16:1)
  • suffer yourselves to be chained down by your enemies / suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies (Alma 43:46)
    • “to suffer yourselves to be equally terrified at the invasion of men is unmanly” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 19:4)
    • “moreover, when you were brought under the hands of your enemies, he delivered you” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 5:6)
    • “and having, as they considered, suffered evil at the hands of the Plataeans” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “I think thou art not ignorant of what he did to thee, nor of what I suffered at his hands” (Herodotus, Book I)
    • “when about to suffer death at the hands of his parents” (The Dialogues of Plato, Laws, Book IX)
  • freemen / freemen (Alma 61:4)
    • “he also left some of the horsemen, called the Freemen, with Herod” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 13:3)
    • “killing all the freemen that fell into their hands” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
    • “if they be looked upon as freemen” (Herodotus, Book 4)
  • future generations / future generations (2 Nephi 4:2)
    • “to be a witness to future generations of what he had foretold” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book VI, 4:6)
    • “to leave behind thee to all future generations a memory beyond even Harmodius and Aristogeiton” (Herodotus, Book VI)
  • dissensions / dissensions (Alma 53:9)
    • “the affairs of the Jews became very tumultuous; as also how the tyrants rose up against them, and fell into dissensions among themselves” (Josephus, Wars, Preface, 9)
  • whilst the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven / because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust (Ether 8:24)
    • “And he said, What hast thou done, the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Bible, Genesis 4:10)
    • “the vengeance of the blood of my kinsman pursues me hastily” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)
  • the blood of their brethren / the blood of their brethren (Mosiah 11:19)
    • “he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book VIII)
    • “the vengeance of the blood of my kinsman pursues me hastily” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 3:6)

 

Donofrio cites parallels in Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address given on March 4, 1801:

  • the rich productions of their industry / riches…they had obtained by their industry (Alma 4:6) / acquired much riches by the hand of my industry (Alma 10:4)
    • “Anthemion, who acquired his wealth, not by accident or gift…but by his own skill and industry” (The Dialogues of Plato, Meno)
    • “our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled world / they are led about by Satan…as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her (Mormon 5:18)
    • “so that they were very like to a ship in a storm, which is tossed by the waves on both sides” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XII, 3:3)
  • by the voice of the nation / by the voice of the people (Mosiah 29:26)
    • “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee” (Bible, 1 Samuel 8:7)
    • “Dorotheus the high priest, and the fellow presidents with him, put it to the vote of the people” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV, 8:5)
    • “chosen by the common voice of the Ionians” (Herodotus, Book 1)
  • all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite / according to our law, and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people (Mosiah 29:11)
    • “still at a very early period obtained good laws, and enjoyed a freedom from tyrants which was unbroken; it has possessed the same form of government for more than four hundred years, reckoning to the end of the late war, and has thus been in a position to arrange the affairs of the other states” (Thucydides, Book I, Chapter I)
  • in common efforts for the common good the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail / Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law – to do your business by the voice of the people (Mosiah 29:26)
    • “for we are made for fellowship one with another, and he who prefers the common good before what is peculiar to himself is above all acceptable to God’ (Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, 24)
    • “Or, if such virtue is scarcely attainable by the multitude, we need only suppose that the majority are good men and good citizens, and ask which will be the more incorruptible, the one good ruler, or the many who are all good?” (Aristotle, Politics, Part XV)
    • “it had been expressly agreed that the decision of the majority of the allies should be binding, unless the gods or heroes stood in the way” (Thucydides, Book V, Chapter XVI)
  • their equal rights / every man should have an equal chance (Mosiah 29:38)
    • “Our city at that juncture had neither an oligarchical constitution in which all the nobles enjoyed equal rights, nor a democracy” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter X)
    • “Now therefore, since he has fulfilled his destiny, I lay down my office, and proclaim equal rights” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • equal law / they were all equal (Alma 1:26)
    • “when he came to the throne he divided the empire into seven provinces; and he made equal laws, and implanted friendship among the people” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book III)
    • “as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 18:7)
    • “If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VI)
  • Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind / be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things (2 Nephi 1:21)
    • “but, above all things, let us be of one mind, and let us honor God” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book III, 14:1)
    • “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul” (Bible, Acts 4:32)
  • Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern / if it were possible that ye could always have just men to be your kings (Mosiah 23:8)
    • “the rule of one is neither good nor pleasant. Ye cannot have forgotten to what lengths Cambyses went in his haughty tyranny…How indeed is it possible that monarchy should be a well-adjusted thing, when it allows a man to do as he likes without being answerable? Such license is enough to stir strange and unwonted thoughts in the heart of the worthiest men” (Herodotus, Book III)
    • “take these three forms of government- democracy, oligarchy, and monarch- and let them each be at their best, I maintain that monarchy far surpasses the other two. What government can possibly be better than that of the very best man in the whole state?” (Herodotus, Book III)
  • Providence…delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter / men are that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25)
    • “when he further asked them how they could be so joyful when they were to be put to death, they replied, because they should enjoy greater happiness after they were dead” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:3)
    • “O children of Israel! There is but one source of happiness for all mankind, the favor of God, for he alone is able to give good things to those that deserve them” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book IV, 8:2)
    • “the soul was immortal, and that an eternal enjoyment of happiness did await such as died on that account” (Josephus, Wars, Book I, 33:2)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels found in Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” (1776):

  • But where, say some, is the King of America? I’ll tell you, friend, he reigns above this land / shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land (2 Nephi 10:11) / for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king (2 Nephi 10:14)
    • “the performance whereof with thine own mouth thou has vowed to the King of heaven” (Apocrypha, 1 Esdras, 4:46)
    • “And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the Lord your God was your king” (Bible, 1 Samuel 12:12)
    • “And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you” (Bible, Judges 8:23)
  • There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did / Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God (Alma 42:13)
    • The city which has no courts of law will soon cease to be a city” (The Dialogues of Plato, The Laws: Preamble, Book VI)
    • “neither the grammarian nor any other person of skill ever makes a mistake in so far as he is what his name implies; they none of them err unless their skill fails them, and then they cease to be skilled artists” (The Dialogues of Plato, Republic, Book I)
  • the Almighty hath implanted in us / planted in your heart (Alma 32:38)
    • “Jacob made his defense – That he was not the only person in whom God had implanted the love of his native country, but that he had made it natural to all men” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book I, 19:10)
    • “when pleasure, and friendship, and pain, and hatred, are rightly implanted in souls not yet capable of understanding the nature of them” (Plato, Dialogues, Laws, Book II)
  • his Image in our hearts / his image in your countenances (Alma 5:4)
  • The robber and the murderer / robbers and murderers (Helaman 6:18)
    • “their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich; and for the murdering of the men” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 9:10)
    • “there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii, who slew men in the day time…and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them” (Josephus, Wars, Book II, 13:3)
    • “every one was in indignation at these men’s seizing upon the sanctuary, at their rapine and murders” (Josephus, Wars, Book IV, 3:10)
  • in one and some in another / in one and some in another (Jacob 5:4)
    • “A man ought to know which of these pay better than others, and which pay best in particular places, for some do better in one place and some in another” (Aristotle, Politics, Part XI)
    • “for the soil and the population may be separated, and some of the inhabitants may live in one place and some in another” (Aristotle, Politics, Part III)
    • “No remedy was found that could be used as a specific; for what did good in one case, did harm in another” (Thucydides, Book II, Chapter VII)
    • “be willing to help us secretly if not openly, in one way if not in another” (Thucydides, Book VI, Chapter XIX)
  • plunderers / plunderers (Helaman 6:18)
    • “There might be some truth in such a view if we assume that robbers and plunderers attain the chief good” (Aristotle, Politics, Part III)
  • setting the world at defiance / set at defiance (Alma 5:18)

 

Donofrio identifies parallels found between a published sermon by Isaac Backus in 1773:

  • no tongue nor pen can fully describe / it is impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write (Mormon 4:11)
    • Now it is impossible to describe the multitude of the shows as they deserve, and the magnificence of them all “(Josephus, Wars, Book VII, 5:5)
    • “I saw the back-bones and ribs of serpents in such numbers as it is impossible to describe” (Herodotus, Book II)

 

Donofrio identifies a parallel in a letter sent by Jonas Phillips to the Constitutional Convention, (1787):

  • to come into a Land of Liberty / “…land of liberty (Alma 46:17)
    • “What is more, you will enslave the land in which the freedom of the Hellenes was won” (Thucydides, Book III, Chapter X)
    • “so deeply am I troubled at the slavery our once free country is now under” (Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIX, 1:9)

These examples show that most of these parallels can be found in other contemporary translations of ancient documents. It should be noted that this article does not represent an exhaustive review of the available literature. These works were simply selected based on my previous knowledge. Part 3 of this article will deal with parallels found in Josephus and the Book of Mormon but not found in the Bible or the Donofrio’s list of parallels. This will show the limitations of attempting to prove the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction because of its parallels to 19th century literature.

 

One thought on “Debunking MormonThink’s “Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon” (Part 2)

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